Crikey – The Carbon Reduction Energy Efficiency Scheme is nearly upon us.

So, if you work in a Company that consumes a large amount of power you have probably heard the initials CRC banded about, and know that the start date of the government’s latest attempt at reducing electricity consumption is almost here (1st April).

I work for just such a company, and am part of a steering committee tasked with ensuring that we are compliant and that we are taking steps to reduce our carbon footprint.  However, this is not an easy thing to coordinate without having someone dedicated to ensure that it happens and we could be doing it better.  I thought that I would write a few blog posts to record the things that work well and the areas in which we can improve.  Whilst I am not sure anyone in the Corporate world would approve of such altruistic actions, as it could affect our league position, we could also improve by learning from our own mistakes.

So, firstly what is the CRCEE (as it is now called) scheme.  Well, if you don’t know by now, it is perhaps a little late – but it is not always disseminated down to those who can really make a difference  i.e. those who can turn the lights off and run the equipment that uses the electricity.  I prepared a couple of posters for the start of the Switch Off campaign so that everyone might have an idea of what it is all about and why energy efficiency has suddenly become a buzzword.  You can download them here if you like – CARBON REDUCTION COMMITMENT ENERGY EFFICIENCY SCHEME_EM.  Even those who have heard about it seem to be confused, so I have included a brief outline of timelines.

The scheme is part of the Climate Change Act (CCA) and is aimed at large consumers of electricity that are not already subject to the CCA or part of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (therefore not electricity suppliers).  It will work on the allocation of carbon credits – so polluters pay, but is supposed to be non-revenue generating and therefore not a tax, those saving the most money will get the most money back.  However, as with all things these days, there is a lot of paperwork to be completed (think of the trees) and it therefore pays to be organised and set up some systems for data capture in advance – something I am working on at the moment.

The government has made a few changes, and so it is always a good idea to check the website out for the latest guidance.  Unfotunately, it has been mired in confusion for the past year, the forms weren’t sent out on time, there was a worry about finding the cash up front for two years’ worth of credits, some companies wanted recognition for their early efforts to reduce energy usage (otherwise companies were holding off any changes whilst waiting for the appropriate year in order to improve their league table position), and others didn’t seem to have a clue – mainly government departments from what I can gather from the web discussions.  So, in response, there is now no longer the requirement to buy two years’ worth of credits – only one is required and an early action league table.   (Unfortunately the only way to do well on this is to gain the Carbon Trust Standard  – which takes a year and involves at least two years of energy efficiency improvements, and to install automatic metering.) There is now more discussion on the internet about CRCEE and also, a lot more  companies willing to take your money to ‘help’ you improve your energy usage.

The first actions in the scheme involve collation of all the necessary data, then, the fun begins and, hopefully, energy efficiency takes centre stage.

Going forward I will outline the things we have tried at work with regards to improving our energy efficiency – some are the so-called low hanging fruit, some will involve a little more thought, some will require capital investment and all will need a great deal of persuasion from those both above and below me within the Company.

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